"Mass Meeting Called by the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky, to Answer His Accusers - At the Hippodrome, New York City, February 5th, 1937, at 8:00 pm"
George Novack, chair
Julian J. Covel, shorthand reporter
Mimeographed stenogram of a mass meeting in defense of Leon Trotsky held at the Hippodrome, located at 43rd Street and Sixth Avenue in New York City. With the Great Terror ramping up in the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky was portrayed by the Soviet regime as the criminal mastermind behind a massive network of spies and saboteurs, intent on undermining the Soviet economy and overthrowing Stalin and his government to achieve personal power in concert with the territorial aspirations of the imperialist powers of Nazi Germany and Militarist Japan.
An international effort was mounted, centered in the United States, to defend the exiled Trotsky -- bunkered in the outskirts of Mexico City -- from these life-threatening charges. The vision of a Trotsky-Hitler-Japan axis would be the phantasmagoria which would shortly drive the secret police witch hunt remembered to history as the Great Terror. About 900,000 Soviet citizens would be executed during the process and many more relegated to the country's vicious and deadly network of labor camps.
For Trotsky's published speech to the Hippodrome meeting of Feb. 5, see the pamphlet "I Stake My Life! Trotsky's Address to the NY Hippodrome Meeting." (New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1937).
Provenance: This rare document was obtained through the son of David Carpenter, a long time Communist Party USA activist who obtained dealer quantities of duplicate CP and CP-related pamphlets and magazines at some point during the party's consolidation of official party libraries. The intimation is that it was the CPUSA, loyalists to Stalin, who were interested enough to employ a stenographer to obtain an exact record of the Trotsky Defense Meeting of Feb. 5, 1937, as opposed to the participants themselves or the U.S. Department of Justice.
The original of this document (obtained circa 2008) resides in the Tim Davenport collection, Corvallis, OR. Queries may be made via the Historians of American Communism newsgroup on H-Net. Digitization is by Martin Goodman of the Riazanov Library Digitization Project. This introduction by Tim Davenport, who also uploaded this file to Archive.org on Jan. 18, 2013.
The report of the "Preliminary Commission of Inquiry" of the Dewey Commission, which took direct testimony from Trotsky at Coyoacan, Mexico from April 10-17, 1937, was published as: "The Case of Leon Trotsky: Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials." (New York: Harper & Bros., 1937). Reprinted by Merit Publishers, New York City, in 1969. Available online via Marxists Internet Archive at http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/dewey/
Leon Trotsky was mortally wounded by a Soviet agent at his home in Mexico on August 20, 1940.
Addenda by the digitizer:
This rare document consisted of thin but good condition pages, with text on them in the form of carbon copy. I made intermediate xerox copies of this "original copy", with careful control page to page overexposure, and also boosting contrast, then scanned the intermediate copies in 300 dpi single bit BW fashion using an Epson GT-20000 flat bed scanner. MANY sincere thanks to Tim for making the content of this document availble to researchers, scholars, and the workers movement! It was an honor to play a modest role in this.
---marty Riazanov Library Project